Netflix Responds To Steven Spielberg's Controversial Comments About The Oscars

Netflix responds.

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Netflix has responded to film legend Steven Spielberg's comments about the Oscars that drummed up a lot of debate and controversy recently. In a statement that doesn't mention Spielberg or the Oscars by name, Netflix listed some of the reasons why the streaming network's role in the distribution of film is important.

"We love cinema," the statement starts off by saying. It then lists off some of the ways Netflix's unique distribution model that bypasses theatres helps the film industry overall.

"Access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theatres. Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time," it said. "Giving filmmakers more ways to share art."

"These things are not mutually exclusive."

Netflix's statement came after Spielberg reportedly plans to request a change to the Oscars eligibility rules that would block movies that air exclusively on streaming services or only come to theatres for a limited time from winning an Oscar. Under the proposed new rules, such films could qualify for an Emmy but not an Oscar. This has understandably generated a lot of debate and discussion.

Spielberg's comments follow a big Oscars season for Netflix. The Alfonso Cuaron drama Roma, which is exclusive to Netflix, won three Oscars at the recent 91st Academy Awards.

Spielberg's production company, Amblin, told IndieWire in a statement, "Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation."

Spielberg will reportedly lobby the Academy to make changes as part of the upcoming Academy Board of Governors meeting in April. We'll report back when more details become available.

Last April, Spielberg said Netflix movies should not qualify for the Oscars and that platforms like Netflix represent a "clear and present danger" to traditional film. Spielberg has been nominated for 17 Oscars, and he's won three.

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Avatar image for uhtredsson

Hollywood is in its deathbed

a. No real blockbuster has come out in years.
b. We have better sound systems and screens at our homes nowadays than those at the movies.
c. video games are raking way bigger sums today, 4 times bigger, which means people are migrating to spending their time and their money on something different.
d. Nobody cares, except maybe dork teens, for those laaame comic movies.
e. Everybody wants shorter, more accessible, more streamlined media, the movies ? are the exact opposite.

Avatar image for lzand0z

@uhtredsson: actually people want LONGER content. its one of the many reasons digital media is doing so well. look at the Rubin report or joe rogan or many other programs on youtube.. they have 30 minute to sometimes 2 or 3 HOUR conversations with people. not 5 minute interviews and 30 second soundbites. and these programs are extremely popular.

and as for entertainment.. look at the shows on netflix.. many series have 12 to 13 episodes that are an hour long.. yes, the seasons might be shorter.. but the episodes are an hour long, and the season is released all at once instead of episodes once a week.. and binge watching is certainly popular.

as for homes having better sound systems and screens.. you need to see an imax 3D film and then try and say that again. but i get it.. you are above those "laaame comic movies".. so you probably wont go. too bad, when you have an IMAX 3D film with state of the art special effects, its an experience like no other in movies.

as for video games raking in more money.. i think that's largely true.. but again, the content in video games can last HUNDREDS of hours. not to mention, the triple A titles that make the most money are really no different than those "laaame comic book movies" you seem to hate so much.

where hollywood fails though, is they have very little originality.. and they take very little risks. all we have now are reboots. all of the creative content is on digital media like netflix.. which, again, is why they are doing well.

Avatar image for mrbojangles25

Netflix is not a "threat", it's a challenge. And you don't deal with challenges by crying to mommy and asking to change the rules.

You deal with challenges by beating them at their own game.

Avatar image for DereksDontRun

Hey, Spielberg, why don’t you concentrate on making a movie that isn’t garbage, like your horrible version of Ready Player One, instead of picking on talented people like Alfonso Cuaron who actually have a vision. Yeah you were great back in the day. No doubt about it. But you’ve been a has been for at least 15 years now. Either put up, or shut up. Don’t try to ruin it for people who are actually trying to make good movies just because you can’t remember how to do that anymore.

Avatar image for uhtredsson


well said.

Avatar image for el_swanno

Spielberg’s proposal will just serve to make the Oscars irrelevant.

The real issue here is film distribution. Once the Disney-Fox takeover is complete Disney will control over 40% of the cinema box office giving them an enormous amount of leverage over film exhibitors. They have successfully muscled independent and foreign language films out of theatres in English-speaking territories.

Don’t get me wrong: I love movie theatres and it’s still my preferred way of watching films but theatres are so poorly run these days and are full second rate movies attended by people who have no idea how to conduct themselves in public it makes watching a new release on Netflix a more attractive alternative by the day. Something is wrong when you have to take 2 trains and travel 40km to see Vice because the local Hoyts is showing a Mark Wahlberg movie instead.

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff

Ah I can see why it's a controversy, but the real answer Spielbergs debating isn't Netflix bus how Netflix is now dominating a landscape Spielbergs burdened to deal with ( yes Harvey Wienstien was also once to oblivious, same as the cardinal George Pell, same as movie pirates, and the casual YouTubers chaotic effect on YouTubes sudden landscape change) every action has a reaction and the more money you have the greater the effect.

That's the thing people like Steven Spielberg have to acknowledge the power isn't up to him (while he had access to a brilliant time line of movies, same as Jim Cameron(James)aka) it's up to the people, because the power that once bestowed the rich and powerful is now poisoning the world and people are tired of it(thank you massiah trump for being the first Jesus of the 21st century to martre your self for the greater good, you practically hanged Harvey Wienstien for being just to vocal about your powerfulness. Let's hope Spielberg does the same with player one flop) and yet where back to Netflix the corner kid on the corner shop to serve piracy as fast as the wind blows.

(vv__ to the elephant in the room__vv)

What amazes me is the industry not working with manufacturers to develop technology for TV's and so on to broadcast a filter over the screens (either embedded to block camera recordings, and where recordings for videos, like Netflix are not accessible via storage read functions only readable where manufacturers like Samsung, western digital ect, have a system that does not allow certain files to be stored on there, or the operating system does a routine check on the sectors for video files that have a secret hexadecimal key embedded on the file layered away with encryption, where if the files copied or modified the last remaining key lawyered below the file will alert the company that keys been modified or hacked and a system on is will notify the individual that the file will be either deleted.

And finally the best solution is a centralised ai server cloud, where all the movies pass through, so it can detect the amount of copies allowed for release where the next movie will be available when piracy is lower then the level of purchase.

Either way I don't agree on piracy, but I dislike rich powerful @#&# far more.

Because it's dinosaurs that d1e not technology.

Avatar image for masscrack

2000CompanyNetflix offers itself for acquisition to Blockbuster for $50 million; however, Blockbuster declines the offer.[7]
Avatar image for twerp

Steven Spielberg, the guy who produced Band of Brothers & The Pacific on HBO? Or a different Steven Spielberg?

Avatar image for aojeda133

@twerp: he didn’t win an oscar for those. Nice try.

Avatar image for RogerioFM

@aojeda133: Emmys? Golden Globes? But ok, no Oscars though.

Avatar image for fanboyman

Why can’t Netflix just put a movie in theaters for a month or two, honestly what’s the big deal?...

It would make the theaters happy, everyone will know the Netflix movies would eventually be streamed. If the movie bombs it’ll just get taken out of the theaters early (like other failures) and Netflix can put the movie on their service earlier, it’s a win-win what’s the problem?

Avatar image for VERTIGO47

Ironic for a director who's created some of the most caliber, influential films in the last 40 years.

Maybe he doesn't realize that most movies today shown in brick and mortar theaters are.......get this.....GARBAGE. And audiences would simply rather wait, rent, or steam these films at the comfort of their homes, MYSELF included. Last film I watched was Interstellar. After that my motivation for going out to watch a movie with friends and my GF have really severely dwindled. My GF and friends simply prefer the intimacy and bond we have watching streamed films at our homes, and this type activity will only continue to grow even bigger in the future.

As for Netflix films and the Oscars. Why not? I think streaming companies (Netflix-Hulu-Prime) producing low to medium budget films, especially Original Content, Original Stories/Screenplays, that only major film studios would completely, obnoxiously REJECT, provides a perfect opportunity for aspiring writers directors to simply get their films made. Something unprecedented in the past. Aspiring writers-directors simply just don't get that chance in this industry.

ROMA winning the Oscars is what the industry REALLY NEEDS.

Avatar image for moviegab

I'd agree with him if his grudge was against big blockbuster movies being premiered on Netflix. Not many would leave their homes to drive to a movie theater and pay 15-20$ plus another 20$ for snacks to see a movie like ROMA. Most people want to a watch a movie like that in the comfort of their own home.

Not many studios would greenlight a project like ROMA either or give Alfonso carte blanche to do whatever he wants for this project. That's where Netflix steps in and has the ability to give a director the proper tools on a worldwide streaming platform.

Avatar image for ives74

Well, it does pose a threat to traditional film. How could it not? With really high quality and relatively low cost video and sound tech available combined with the benefits of home comfort and not being surrounded by a bunch of annoying strangers, why would I want to subject myself to the experience of going to a theater?

Avatar image for chubby170

Well, I agree with him..

Avatar image for maustin5

The Oscars were created for the sole purpose to promote the film industry, particularly the act of people going to the movie theater. Promoting Netflix films does the exact opposite of this.

Avatar image for mushywaffle

@maustin5: Particularly you are wrong. Theatres were created because it was the ONLY venue to show films. The Oscars never made distinctions on Venue in which it is watched and have NEVER cared about people going to movie theatres, that is why blockbusters rarely win. A movie is a movie, regardless where you watch it. Hollywood makes more money on after market sales and rentals, theatres are a drop in the bucket. That is an elitist attitude created SOLELY to eliminate competition and protect self interest.

Avatar image for Louis

I'd like to ask Spielberg to define exactly what theater experience he's talking about, since he has no issue (I assume) with people buying DVDs of his movies to watch at home. Does he want a minimum sized TV to watch his movies on? Does he only want to allow people to buy his DVDs if they first saw his films in the theater? Must I have a "crowd" in my living room, or is me alone allowed? What sound system does he require at my house?

Okay, maybe he thinks, "but the big screen, right there in front of you! Not just sitting next to your 65 inch TV at home..." Is he factoring in the up and coming VR solutions? I see ads for the Oculus Go where with the goggle on, they can recreate a large screen theater experience for the viewer. Does that qualify?

I'm guessing he just doesn't like these new formats. He's being old-school and wants us all packed in movie houses. Sorry Steven, times change, you need to change with it.

Avatar image for jagdedge124

Well, if you're old enough like i am. spending most your life without internet, you'd realize the internet ruined the music industry when music was being downloaded free, and now it's ruining hollywood. Next is games when they go to streaming service, and the pirating starts.

Avatar image for phinix

@jagdedge124: I will agree that games going to a streaming-always-online-you-don't-actually-own-it-you-just-subscribe-to-it will be a big negative to the industry, more so to consumers; but I disagree with your other assertions.


Avatar image for tyruduvu


I too remember life before the internet.

Ruined, no. Transformed, yes. The music industry ruined itself, because it wanted to continue to extort 11-15 bucks per album rather than a buck per song, when the consumer didn't want all 10 or so songs. They couldn't keep up with the consumer's demand and now they've been forced to transform having lost their gravy train.

Hollywood ruined itself because it's out of touch with it's consumer, who by and large is sick of being preached at by twits holed up in castles, and who by and large are sick of the cavalcade of big effects, no substance movies being shoveled out.

Netflix is simply a medium. Spielberg, apparently a relic, although one of my favorite relics.

Avatar image for Kezzy123


How exactly has internet ruined the music industry? its bigger than it ever was including rise of all sort of stars via shows such as american idol and so on. Its different, far from ruined.

Avatar image for jagdedge124


Simply put, record and movie companies are not going to put major amounts of dollars into a product that could end up being downloaded free. They simply put out cheap made garbage, at least to the extent it was pre internet.

And this isn't age even talking, in that i noticed is soon as my latter twenties, music and movie quality going down the tubes.

There were some exceptions, but not many.

Make no mistake, they'll "hype" it as much as they can to sell, but they won't put many dollars into it. And quite frankly, we're already seeing it on games, where watering down quality (dollars), is being made up with microtransactionary process.

So even those who may not be older, but old enough t remember higher quality games on prior generations, as compared to now, would probably have an idea of what i speak about in regards to music and movies.

And there may be a correlation there as well, where as game pricing has been relatively the same for more than a decade (59.99 US), and so companies are trying to make up for the game pricing with additives and lowered quality.

Avatar image for Kezzy123

@jagdedge124: You are indeed seeing it on games but not at all for that reason. Its 100% because people are complete tools and devs realized that they can make a cheap arse cell game with gambling in and people will buy it and spend hundreds of dollars to unlock crap that means nothing so tons of creativity is leaving the market to draft dozens of free to play games with such behaviors to take advantage of all the idiots in the world.

I guess you can say that this is because of the internet but not in the way you meant (IE pirating and such) but more because there is an option to extort morons.

Avatar image for mooseda

@jagdedge124: I'm 32 grew up with the burst of the internet. I dont think internet ruined either music, film nor games - pirating has existed since creation on any kind of medium. Internet has helped all those types of media by distribution alone. Not sure where your ideology is based from.

Avatar image for deactivated-5d4c0b80dcd76

It’s all political, it’s all about making sure the film companies who are eligible to win an Oscar are on the same playing field and making sure that all who are elligible are spending/competing roughly the same amount of budget. Netflix essentially gets to put their movie into a theater for the minimum requirement time, for example along the lines of how long The Room was in the theater, which minimizes the cost of marketing, releasing and maintaining their movie in the theater. Netflix has far less middle man costs in the film industry business. And Netflix is still disruptive and the big film companies don’t want to compete with someone who inherently doesn’t need to spend as much on a movie. They also have the luxury of taking the PC’ness or conversely lewdness level to where they want without fear of earning an NC17 rating (remember Game Over, Man?) film content.

I can totally understand Spielberg’s concerns.

Avatar image for megagood2345

@mbrogz3000: For this to be true, none of the nominees would have production and marketing budgets smaller than Roma's. Did you do this research?

Avatar image for mooseda

@mbrogz3000: I agree with your points but to limit creation based off of budget and merit shouldnt be the prerequisite. This is kinda making the elitists in this industry have an upper hand.

Avatar image for Sound_Demon

Spielberg? You mean the director who hasn't had a relevant movie since... oh right. Never.

Avatar image for megagood2345

@Sound_Demon: Let's keep some perspective here. Attacking a person instead of a position is usually weak sauce to begin with. When doing so requires you to deny Spielberg's place in cinematic history, it's even worse.

Avatar image for bingoh

@Sound_Demon: Shindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park aren't "relevant movies?"

Avatar image for tyruduvu

@Sound_Demon: Clearly you are young enough to believe Never includes the time before your birth.

Avatar image for lzand0z

This reminds of the time Metallica and other bands like them boycotted digital music services because they saw them as a threat to "traditional media".. turns out their boycott threatened their music careers.. low and behold they changed their minds :)

same thing could happen to spielburg. he needs to get with the times, and so does the movie and TV industry. at some point the Hollywood and network elites are going to have to wake up and realize digital media is the future.

as for going to movies, i dont go to many of them anymore because of the cost.. however, if its a film i really want to support or its an IMAX 3D release of a film ive been looking forward to.. ill gladly go. seeing a movie in IMAX 3D is worth the cost IMO.

Avatar image for Louis

@lzand0z: You make excellent points here! I would add, I remember when Hollywood leaders testified in front of Congress against the new tech that VCRs brought to the landscape. Much later I remember reading that they made same/more the first weekend of DVD sales of Spiderman than the entire run in theaters.

So yes, they need to get with the times and stifle their fear. These new "ways" will lead to more movies, more business and more profits for all.

You are not kidding about cost. Where I live an evening viewing is $14! The better presentations (IMAX, Dolby Cinema) cost up to $19. I joined a theater's chain movie program where for a flat fee I can see a number of "free" films a week. Otherwise I just couldn't afford to go as often as I do.

I personally loved many of Spielberg's films, but on this topic, he's wrong. If he's so into the "theater experience" why doesn't he lash out against his films moving to the DVD format to be watched at home? Or does he want a requirement that his DVDs can only be viewed on a minimum 50" screen and the viewer must be sitting within 4' of the TV? Yep, I'm being a bit snippy here... ;-)

Avatar image for dynamotnt

the only time I go to the cinema, is when the next shitfest marvel movie comes out. I go and I take my mobile phone jammer, and I make millennial scrubs cry.

Avatar image for tyruduvu

@dynamotnt: You can hear the millennials crying over your post. Hilarious.

Avatar image for koospetoors

@dynamotnt: Do you also cut people on the way out of the cinema with all that edge?

Avatar image for Pwnslaught

@dynamotnt: How very mature of you.

Avatar image for Sindroid

I see no reason to go to the cinema. They cost too much in Norway, and Hollywood churns out more trash than good stuff these days. I Dont care for Superhero films that is lining up for a premiere at the big screen or cringy american comedy. they bore me.

Last thing i saw by myself was Bladerunner 2049 that has some amazing visual and sound, and which in my opinion needs a good big screen and excellent sound system to distribute the awesome soundtrack. That was a great experience on the big screen.

I only go if the kids want to see the latest Lego movie or whatever..

Technology has given us bigscreen at home. 64" screen and moderate soundsystem and you don´t need the cinema anymore in my opinion.

Would not care for Spielbergs criticism. Streaming is the future forward.

Avatar image for Louis

@Sindroid: I agree with you on the cost of films. I'm retired in the US and finally signed up for a "movie program" a chain offers that for a flat fee gives me access to the films. It helps with the costs.

I like your point about your home setup. My brother did the same. He also has a family and overall it was cheaper to watch at home than a theater. Spielberg is missing that. Many home systems can be closer to a theater experience than old TV systems.

Plus, if he's so into the pure experience, I don't see him demanding an end to the DVD sales of his films for viewing at home?

He's just being old school and needs to get with the times.

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff

@Metallicwolf29: my mother owns you deal with it.

Avatar image for bdrtfm

I doubt Netflix poses much of a threat. Their content has turned to garbage. Terrible Netflix original movies. Loads of garbage filler I wouldn't watch for free let alone pay for. I mean, who still watches 30 year old documentaries on Bigfoot? Gee, I wonder if they found anything? And I just got an email yesterday saying that my sub is going up another $3/month. Less content. Worse content. And another price increase. I don't see how they can be a danger to the Oscars when their so called Original movies are crap and they don't get blockbuster movies until months after Blu-ray release. I can think of maybe one successful Netflix movie that won big in awards in the last 21 years.

Avatar image for 93ChevyNut

I'm actually really surprised that Spielberg has only won 3 Oscars.

Regardless, talent is talent, regardless of whether it's in the theaters or not.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1

If Netflix keeps hiking their prices, he may not have to worry about it.

Avatar image for Sindroid


if the prices are double in a few years i would cut my subscription. I can still take a few more price hikes. Still think the selection of movies could be way better. But its quite the difference between US and European Netflix regarding the content.

they should be careful with prices. Too much and piracy will rise again. I have not downloaded much movies this year since getting Netflix. Just the odd classic from the 90´s i dont find on streaming services.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1

@Sindroid: I agree with you on content. They're pushing their Netflix branded content pretty hard and I much preferred them having a library of third party TV shows and movies. Couple the rising prices with lack of non-Netflix content, and I've almost got two feet out the door.

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